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Portland, September 10, 2000

With the fourth consecutive victory, Audi puts up a new record in the American Le Mans Series (ALMS) and increases its lead in the manufacturers’ championship to eleven points. Rinaldo Capello and Allan McNish won round eight of the ALMS at Portland International Raceway just ahead of Panoz and BMW. Frank Biela and Emanuele Pirro in the other Audi R8 made it to fourth place and so also collected further points for the drivers championship.

Pole sitter Rinaldo Capello took the lead right from the start, but then got caught by a slower GT car. As he tried to pass he damaged the front body work of his Audi R8 and dropped to eighth position while teammate Emanuele Pirro took over the lead. The 77 team was incredible lucky since the necessary repair could be done under a full course yellow, rejoining the race only 40 seconds behind the leading R8 of Emanuele Pirro. After 48 laps in the lead, the first pit stop changed positions again: The number 78 car made the regular stop under green with a caution period to come only one minute later. For this reason the other  competitors lost less time and as a result Emanuele Pirro found himself in seventh place while Allan McNish took over the car from Rinaldo Capello after 45 minutes, regaining the lead again to take the win.

Audi dominated the entire weekend in Oregon. The Emanuele Pirro and Frank Biela were setting fastest times during all practice sessions of the weekend, Rinaldo Capello achieved pole position and Emanuele Pirro was driving the fastest race lap, remarkably during lap 59.

Reinhold Joest
In the opening laps the #2 Panoz with O'Connell was in front of the #2 Panoz
That's all what the #2 and #1 Panoz could see for the first hour the back of the #78 Audi R8 driven by Emanuele Pirro
#78 Emanuele Pirro and #2 O'Connell in the Panoz
At 2.00h Emanuele finished his double stint in 3rd position, handing the R8 over to Frank Biela who rejoined the race in 7th postion
Allan McNish took over in lap 48, from Capello who crashed the R8 in lap 8 sending down to position 9, but had twice the luck of a fullcourse yellow to get in the lead and win the race
Bill Auberlen and Jean Marc Gunon in the #43 BMW had in lap 10 a tire explosion taking a part of the rear of the car, after the repair they could join in 25th position
Beretta/Wendlinger won their class, Archer/Donohue finished 2nd in the #92 Dodge Viper
McNish & Capello inherited the victory, Frank Biela crossed the start finish line in 4th position
1. Capello/McNish Audi R8 136 laps
2. Brabham/Magnussen Panoz - 57.456s
3. Lehto/Müller BMW - 1 lap
4. Biela/Pirro Audi R8 - 1 lap
5. Johansson/Smith Reynard - 1 lap
6. O'Connell/Katoh Panoz - 2 laps
7. Schiattarella/de Radigues Lola - 3 laps
8. Angelelli/Taylor Cadillac - 3 laps
9. Field/Sutherland Lola - 9 laps
10. Beretta/Wendlinger Chrysler - 13 laps

Rinaldo Capello (#77)
„When I caught up to the GT car I almost spun because there was some oil on the track. To be honest at that moment I thought our race was already gone. But due to a very good pit stop and a lot of luck we went up to first position again. This is racing: We lost Texas when it was already won and now we won this race although it seemed to be already lost.”

Allan McNish (#77)
„This race was won by the team rather than by the drivers. Dindo made an excellent start but got in contact with a slower car. That put us 40 seconds down but the team did a great job and put on a very good strategy. And of course Michelin gave us really good tires. I think this all together was the recipe for our victory today.”

Frank Biela (#78)
„The first 48 laps went perfectly for us, we were leading comfortably. Unfortunately we had to refuel under green, on such a short track you loose a lap easily. All the other cars were lucky because they could come in only one lap later under a yellow flag and did not loose as much time as we did. After that we had no chance. For the next race at Road Atlanta I hope luck will be on our side. Road Atlanta is a 10-hour-race, we can gain five extra points, this will be a key race in the drivers championship for us.“

Emanuele Pirro (# 78)
„I'm really disappointed, we did a good job throughout the whole weekend and we were leading the race very comfortably. There had been no mistakes at all by the team, just incredible bad luck with the pace car. We lost an entire lap plus the advantage that we had to the second car. It's quite hard to accept, because this was really our race.“

Reinhold Joest, Team Director Audi Sport North America
„The start here at Portland is very risky, after the first chicane I could relax a little bit. Everything was going well until Dindo's accident. At that point Emanuele had a 38 second lead, but racing is unpredictable, things can happen quickly like the pace car phase just seconds after our pit stop. It's a remarkable achievement that the number 78 car was able to move up from seventh and finish fourth. The competition here in Portland was closer than ever.“